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The American economy vs gravity

The American economy always feels better when the Super Bowl is on. Ads for trucks and beer fill the airwaves. It’s steak and cigar season for the corporate bigwigs, not a time for the calorie conscious. For a few days, they can forget about foreign labour and cratering emerging markets and wallow in the fantasy

You, too, can be a shale profiteer

It might not be something you want to mention in the Half Moon Inn in Balcombe, or around any of the other communities where people are getting anxious about shale gas explorers ripping up the countryside with their drills and pipelines. But if shale is the tremendous source of wealth that David Cameron insists it

Don’t you dare tell me to check my privilege

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_20_February_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”From this week’s View from 22 podcast, Burchill and Paris Lees debate intersectionality” startat=86 fullwidth=”yes”] Julie Burchill vs Paris Lees [/audioplayer]In the early 1970s, my dad was a singular sort of feminist. As well as working all night in a factory, he had banned my mother from the kitchen for as long as

Vladimir Putin’s new plan for world domination

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/Untitled_2_AAC_audio.mp3″ title=”Anne Applebaum and Matthew Parris discuss how far we should let Putin go”] Listen [/audioplayer]It’s been a generation or so since Russians were in the business of shaping the destiny of the world, and most of us have forgotten how good they used to be at it. For much of the last century

The Environment Agency cares more about wildlife than people

What do voles, beetles, mussels, trout and the golden plover have in common? Believe it or not, they have all been used as excuses by the Environment Agency not to improve flood defences. Travelling around the worst of the flooded areas last week, I met family after family who said their local rivers had been

Investment trusts – the way the City saves

After years in the doldrums, investment trusts — those venerable pooled funds with names like Foreign and Colonial and City of London — are in danger of becoming fashionable. There are good reasons why they should be better known. They offer the possibility of high returns at low cost, as well as access to exotic


Ian Buruma’s notebook: Teenagers discover Montaigne the blogger

Bard College in upstate New York, where I teach in the spring semester, is an interesting institution, once better known for sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll than academic rigour. This has changed, thanks to Bard’s president, Leon Botstein, who conducts orchestras when he is not presiding. This semester, I am teaching a class in

Notes on...

A perfect haven of peace in north Devon

It was late September. My wife and I were feeling overworked and overstressed — our mental states not helped by the fact that we hadn’t managed to get away for a proper summer holiday. We couldn’t face the prospect of middle-of-the-night flights or airport queues, so we looked for somewhere in the UK where we